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Deputy Loses Title As Tallest Man in the United States

Associated Press

May 25, 2010

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Norfolk sheriff’s deputy George Bell has lost his title as the tallest man in the United States but hopes he can still be an inspiration to others.

The Guinness World Record Association measured Rochester’s Igor Vovkovinskiy at 7 feet, 8.33 inches tall during NBC’s “The Dr. Oz Show” on Monday. He edged out Bell by a third of an inch.

The 52-year-old Bell, a Portsmouth resident, had held the Guinness title since November 2007. He says Guinness officials called his publicist a few days ago to let him know about Vovkovinskiy.

“Well, you know, I feel good about it,” Bell said Monday night. "I knew that there was someone taller than me in this country.

“This has been a glorious 2 1/2 years of holding this title, and I’m happy that he has it.”

Earlier this month a British television crew arranged a meeting between Bell and Turkey’s Sultan Kosen, the world’s tallest living man at 8-1. Both men have a medical condition which causes an excess of growth hormone during childhood.

The 27-year-old Vovkovinskiy is originally from Ukraine but moved to Minnesota with his mother when he was 7 for treatment at the Mayo Clinic for a pituitary disease that spurred his rapid growth.

Vovkovinskiy now attends the Minnesota School of Business and is pursuing a degree in paralegal studies.

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